Cassils Advertisement: Homage to Benglis, 2011.
Photo : Cassils & Robin Black, courtesy of the artist & Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York

Of the Techno-Plasticity of the Body in Cassils

Anne-Marie Dubois
Contemporary reflections on the body — its technologization, commercialization, and medicalization, and its close links with neoliberalism — are prominent concerns in queer theory and are redefining the practices of several contemporary artists. Favouring subversion, irony, and humour as art-political modes, queer-multitude1 1 - The term “queer multitudes” is taken from Paul B. Preciado, who prefers that expression to “LGBTQIA” and who points out the contingency of various activist movements outside heteronormative territory. Beatriz Preciado, “Multitudes Queer: notes pour une politique des ‘anormaux,’” Multitudes, no. 12 (February 2003), Paris, Exils, 22. artists reappropriate the strategies established by the hegemonic heteronormative system in order to debunk its coercive substance. In the sexo-political2 2 - Ibid., 17: “Sexopolitics is a dominant form of biopolitical action in contemporary capitalism. With it, sex enters into the calculations of power, making discourse on sex and normalizing technologies of sexual identity into a controlling agent of life.” (our translation) performances of trans artist Cassils, we see the use of techniques of disciplinary control on bodies and sexuality.

In direct line with feminist artists and some of the canonical works of the 1960s and 1970s, they3 3 - The artist, who identifies as a transgender person who does not conform to established definitions of gender, wishes to be referred to by the plural gender-neutral pronouns they, them, their in the text. adopt a socially engaged and activist practice, but now informed by the intersectionality of struggles4 4 - Intersectionality relates to the consubstantiality of forms of discrimination (gender, class, race, sex, sexuality, age, ability, and so on) and to their co-constructive involvement in the development of identity. Kimberlé Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 43, no. 6 (July 1991), 1241 — 99. and a rejection of binary thinking. Identity is no longer considered a monolithic bloc; instead, it is seen as strategic and multiple.

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This article also appears in the issue 90 - Feminisms

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